The Twilight Sad Lee's Palace, Toronto ON February 29
Published Mar 01, 2012Rainy weeknights in February are tailor-made for Scottish bands, especially those with a penchant for atmospheric soundscapes and a soft spot for gloomy post-rock (i.e., most of them). Thus, the Twilight Sad had an advantage going into their Toronto show. Bonus: it fell on a day that doesn't usually exist -- that always ratchets up the drama.
The five-piece's latest full-length, No One Can Ever Know, is a study in intensity and the live set was appropriately dense. From the paranoid guitar dirge at the outset of "Kill it in the Morning" to feedback-drenched closer "At the Burnside," the tone stayed heavy. That was a good thing.
While much has been made of the outfit's new reliance on keys, they still had a healthy appetite for weighty guitars. Meanwhile, their finest asset, singer James Graham's soaring brogue, retained the fore. Cathartically caterwauling on "Don't Move," vaulting on "Alphabet" and delivering a powerful a cappella intro to "Cold Days from the Birdhouse," Graham's lilt was as dynamic as it was emotive.
For their part, his cohorts were equally deft, particularly drummer Mark Devine who supplied terrifying floor toms on "Kill It in the Morning," Spartan hammering on "Reflection of the Television" and feverish drilling on "I Became a Prostitute." Pitting driving pace against lithe keys, "Dead City" provided his finest moment and one of the evening's many highlights.
The racing "Nil," replete with church-ready synths, an almost upbeat, New Order-evoking "Another Bed" and a sparsely arranged take on "Cold Days from the Birdhouse" showcased the quintet in all of their sonorous and moody glory, adding emotional depth to an already rousing gig.